Kaitlyn Clark earns first career WNBA win after 0-5 start

Caitlin Clark earned her first WNBA win, thanks to her first WNBA boxing. (Jane Kamin-ONCIA-USA TODAY Sports)

Caitlin Clark From what seemed like a work in progress on Friday, came the Caitlin Clark that everyone had been waiting for. The result: Her first career WNBA win.

The No. 1 overall pick got off to a slow start as the Indiana Fever snapped a season-opening five-game losing streak in a 73-71 win over the Los Angeles Sparks. Clark had just five points and was 0-for-7 from going deep in the game’s final minutes, which clearly didn’t affect his decision-making.

First, Clark pulled up from deep to extend his team’s lead to six points with two and a half minutes left.

Then she delivered real punch, making a deep putback to put LA away with 40 seconds left.

If you’re judging Clark by the numbers he put up at Iowa, he didn’t have a great game overall. He had an inefficient 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting (2-of-9 from deep), but a team-high 10 rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

Of course, if you’re evaluating a freshman who immediately took over the primary ball-handling duties of a team that went 13-27 last year less than two months after playing a full college season, you can call that an encouraging step for a player. Still a league-changing prospect.

The Fever trailed by 11 points at halftime, but quickly rallied back thanks to a sloppy performance by the Sparks, who committed 19 turnovers. Senior Kelsey Mitchell led the way with 18 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter in the victory. Aaliyah Boston, the former No. 1 pick out of Indiana, was strong with 17 points and six rebounds.

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For the Sparks, No. 2 Cameron Brink had the best performance of his young career with 15 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks on 5-of-9 shooting. Dearica Hamby had a big game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

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